SUCCESS STORIES

We work hard to “wow” our clients and help them achieve their goals, and, when we do, we like to share stories of their success as inspiration and examples for other districts and organizations seeking solutions to similar challenges.

Our consultants can help you identify root causes of challenges in your system, as we did with our clients in these success stories. We’ll work with you, using a collaborative, capacity building approach to help you design and implement strategic and tactical solutions for improvement, creating a path for you to reach your goals.

Want more information about our consulting services, PD and training options, and customized solutions? Contact us today!

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Small-scale, high-quality study boosts confidence in vocabulary tool

The publishers of a supplemental vocabulary-building program called VocabularySpellingCity® thought they had a hit on their hands, but without data, how could they be sure? They turned to McREL to start generating answers. Our small-scale but rigorously designed study showed a clear advantage for students who got to play with the program in addition to studying traditional word lists. Students loved using it because succeeding was fun, and their test scores followed suit. Now VocabularySpellingCity has a solid starting point for further research.

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Strengthening leadership and instruction in Minnesota district leads to academic gains

In 2011, changes in the Minnesota Legislature required districts to establish formal principal evaluation systems and job descriptions aligned to district goals and to include observations and data on student growth in their reporting. School District 197, located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, turned to McREL for a research-based principal evaluation system and aligned leadership development program to build a framework that met the state’s goals and requirements. Since implementation in 2013, the district has been more intentional in its improvement planning and implementation, and has seen increases in achievement in science (+3.6%), reading (+4.5%), and math (+7.6%).

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Reducing variability leads to achievement gains in large Nebraska district

Lincoln Public Schools is the second largest district in the state of Nebraska—and getting larger every year. With a rapid increase in the number and diversity of students, the district was looking for a way to ensure effective instruction across its schools. The research-based instructional strategies of McREL’s Classroom Instruction That Works provided the consistency the district needed and led not only to better teaching but also to improved achievement districtwide.

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Study finds link between school climate and literacy achievement

The Department of Education and Training in Victoria, Australia contracted McREL to develop a highly reliable staff opinion survey to measure five key areas of school function: school climate, school leadership, professional learning, staff safety and well-being, and teaching and learning. Using a predictive validity study to examine the survey results as they relate to student achievement on standardized assessments, McREL researchers found that school climate was the greatest predictor of Grade 5 achievement in literacy. Further statistical analysis showed that strong leadership led to better teacher collaboration, which then led to academic optimism.

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Coaching is the key to systemic improvement for growing Tennessee district

This large, suburban district partnered with McREL to improve the effectiveness of its current and aspiring leaders, including instructional supervisors, principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders. McREL helped the district establish frameworks and structures for shared leadership, coaching, and collaborative planning—emphasizing innovation and principles of high-reliability organizations.

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Cultural connections lead to systemic change in Cree Nation

The Cree Nation School Board partnered with McREL to develop and implement a multi-year comprehensive school improvement plan for 11 schools spread across Quebec, including a tri-lingual guaranteed and viable curriculum. The schools are now collaborating in new ways to address challenges and share successes, which include increases in student attendance and graduation rates.

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“Outstanding alignment” in rural Wyoming district leads to stair-step improvement in student outcomes

A rural district partnered with McREL on system-wide PD for instruction and leadership that was aligned with the district’s strategic plan and personnel evaluation systems. This comprehensive solutions approach led to steady improvement in student outcomes and best-in-state accreditation ratings.

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McREL evaluates TQP partnership-funded teacher residency programs

Working with two universities’ Teacher Quality Partnership programs, McREL assessed differential outcomes in classroom practice, student achievement, and employment retention, helping program staff refine the programs’ curriculum, processes, support services, and PD for future participants.

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McREL helps Florida districts better implement and evaluate PD

Working collaboratively with the Florida Department of Education, McREL designed and delivered eight technical assistance modules to school districts across the state in order to help them improve their PD systems, including assessing needs, monitoring implementation, and evaluating impact.

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Empowering the classroom with cutting edge nanoscience and technology

McREL’s NanoTeach project created high-quality PD that blended instructional strategies from Designing Effective Science Instruction (Tweed, 2009) with hands-on learning of nanoscience and technology (NS&T) content, using research-proven strategies and inquiry-based practices that help teachers became more confident in their ability to teach NS&T. Assessments of the program showed significant increases in student content knowledge and higher levels of engagement and interest in science among teachers and students.

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Science4Us engages young scientists and gets results

Education curriculum company turns to McREL to determine if its online program for early elementary science improved student achievement, increased teacher confidence to teach science, and motivated more students to engage in science. McREL’s study found that Science4Us helped students make statistically significant improvements on content knowledge.

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Suite of services brings cohesion to districts in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula

To improve student achievement, the district partnered with McREL to develop a common curriculum, strengthen principals’ leadership skills, and improve PD for teachers. As a result, teachers’ level of satisfaction rose in the district, and students’ proficiency in reading and math increased.

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Success in Sight® helps reinvent culture at Richwood High School

Using McREL’s continuous improvement process, a West Virginia school focused on three areas for growth: shared leadership, instructional practices, and school culture, which in turn led to higher student proficiency, attendance rates, and graduation rates and, for the first time in six years, the school meeting adequate yearly progress.

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AWSM program improves formative assessment with authentic samples of student work

McREL worked with Colorado Springs School District 11 to develop and pilot a new mathematics formative assessment program called the Assessment Work Sample Method (AWSM)—a way to collect, create, discuss, and learn from authentic samples of student work—which significantly improved teacher practice with formative assessment by the end of the school year.

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Evaluators find summer program readies high school students for science

McREL, with funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, undertook a three-year project to design, implement, and evaluate Cosmic Chemistry, a two-week summer program to proactively engage and prepare high school students who might not otherwise take chemistry. Strong gains were made among students’ background knowledge in chemistry.

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